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Air conditioning invented 110 years ago today

July 17, 2012

Today it hit 97 degrees in Cambridge, MA.

The things you learn inadvertently… Just this evening I found out that air conditioning was invented 110 years ago to the day, by Willis H. Carrier. He did it to control moisture in a printing press so that the paper would remain at a constant size. Since then, of course, AC has become a critical part of the transformation of our physical environments. Lee Kuan Yew, first prime minister of Singapore, famously quipped that the air conditioner was one of humankind’s greatest inventions because it enabled development in the tropics.

To commemorate Carrier’s invention, Architect Magazine explores the unintended consequences of air conditioning.

1902 drawing of air conditioner, image from Carrier

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